Summer Project: How to Interior Paint for a Fresh Look

Summer is a great time to get things done around the house and work on that list of projects. A fresh coat of paint can give a room a fresh, new look and is a great way to remodel without spending too much. These pointers on how to interior paint will get you started on a successful project.

The first step in any paint project is the prep work, and doing it right makes the rest of the job much easier. First remove all the furniture, wall hangings, and window treatments from the room. For larger furniture that is difficult to move, you can push it away from the walls and cover it with a drop cloth. Be sure to remove all hardware for window treatments, and if you’re painting the window frames remove window hardware as well. Look around the room and remove any electrical plates, switch covers, vents, or anything else that is not to be painted. Cover the electrical outlets and switches with painter’s tape, and cover windows with plastic to prevent splatters. Finally, cover the floor with plastic drop cloths.

Next, to prepare the walls for the best coverage and finish, wipe them down with a damp sponge or rag. Remove any pencil, ink or food stains because they will bleed through the new paint and cause streaks. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers work very well for getting ink and pencil marks off. Fill any nail holes or other blemishes with drywall compound. Let it dry for 3-4 hours, then sand it to a smooth finish with fine sandpaper, blending the edges. Wipe the wall down well and vacuum up all dust.

Use painter’s tape to mask off edges of wood trim, baseboard, door, and window frames. To get a nice straight line where the ceiling and walls meet, tape the perimeter of the ceiling, abutting the edge of the walls. Paint a 2-3 inch border along the top edge of the wall, in corners, around door and window frames, switches outlets, vents, and baseboards, using a 2-inch brush. Working from the top of the wall down, use a roller to paint the rest of the wall. Work in 3-4 foot sections from top to bottom, all around the room, blending one area to the next. When working with the roller, roll excess paint off the roller after dipping, then use large even strokes and be careful not to press down too hard. For most interior paint colors, you will need to do two coats of paint, allowing the paint to dry completely between coats.

If you will be painting the trim, remove the tape and wait until the wall paint dries completely. Then use an edger or tape off the wall around trim work. Use a brush to paint trim, working with the grain of the wood, in short, even strokes at first, then large strokes to even out coverage.

When you’re done, remove drop cloths and tape and sweep up any paint debris. The paint should cure for a few days before replacing wall hangings. During this time you can replace furniture, but take care not to push furniture against the walls yet. Leftover paint can be kept for touch-ups, but always check with your local waste company before disposing of partially filled paint cans.